The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yiwill visit Washington this week to discuss tensions and a possible visit by the president Xi JinpingUS official sources reported on Monday.
Wang, the highest-ranking Chinese official to arrive in Washington in almost five yearswill remain from Thursday through Saturday and will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the officials said.
This comes against a backdrop of frictions around trade, Ukraine, the Middle East, Taiwan and China’s assertive actions in the sea near the Philippines.
A senior U.S. official said the trip is part of efforts between the two largest economies in the world to “responsibly manage our competition.”
“We continue to believe that direct face-to-face diplomacy is the best way to raise challenging issues, address misperception and miscommunication, and explore working with the Chinese where our interests intersect,” he said under the usual condition of anonymity. .
Wang will return a June visit to Beijing from Blinken, who was the highest-ranking US official to travel to China since 2018.
Blinken spent 11 hours with top Chinese leaders, including Xi. Diplomats say Wang will expect a similar meeting with President Joe Biden, who is in Washington this week.
Biden, who last saw Xi last November on the sidelines of the Group of 20 talks in Bali, has invited the Chinese leader to travel next month to San Francisco, where the United States will host the APEC summit, the Asia-Pacific economic cooperation forum.
Asked whether Wang’s visit will formalize one by Xi, another U.S. official said Biden “has stated on multiple occasions that he hopes to see President Xi in the near future” and declined to comment further.
Both parties have expressed their interest in avoiding conflicts in recent months. Upon receiving the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumerearlier this month, Xi said that the relationship between the United States and China “will determine the future and destiny of humanity.”
But tensions have repeatedly soared, even after China held military exercises near Taiwan, the democracy backed by the United States and claimed as its own by Beijing, following actions taken by American lawmakers.
The Philippines, an ally of the United States, accused China on Monday of deliberately overtaking its ships on a resupply mission in disputed watersleading Beijing to accuse Manila of “false information.”
Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called his Philippine counterpart on Monday to express his support following China’s “dangerous and illegal actions.” Sullivan will also meet with Wang in Washington, official sources said.
Meeting with allies
In a strategy also pursued before Blinken’s trip, the Biden administration is meeting with US allies ahead of its talks with China.
On Wednesday, Biden will receive the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albaneseon a state visit, weeks before Albanese makes his own visit to China, at a time when once-frozen ties are being restored.
In a show of friendship on China’s part, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing last week in one of his first trips since he invaded Ukraine.
China has offered moral support to Russia but, according to U.S. officials, has refrained from supporting Moscow militarily following warnings from the United States.
More recently, China and the United States have sought mutual diplomatic advantage as violence erupts in the Middle East.
Blinken, visiting the Middle East, spoke by phone with Wang to ask China to put pressure on Iran, which supports Hamas.
In turn, China has criticized US support for Israel and denounced the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution, which sought to vindicate Israel’s right to defend itself.
(With information from AFP)